Fabrics with this style of design are called "bizarre silk." Earlier in this century they were thought to have been made in India, but further research has shown them to be the product of an economic war between France and Italy from about 1690 to 1715.
During the seventeenth century, in an attempt to achieve French economic dominance in Europe, Louis XIV's minister Colbert began a campaign to encourage the manufacture of luxury goods. Various incentives, including tax advantages induced skilled artisans to move to france. Until this time Italy had been the premier silk-producing country. Silk cloth was expensive and popular with the European nobility; dominance in the silk trade represented large sums of money. As the French appeared to be taking over, in the 1690's the Italians made a last attempt to regain the market, creating the unique designs that today are called "bizarre."